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Great patrons

By Zhang Kun | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-17 07:53

Great patrons

Miracle: The Bellini Family and the Renaissance features relics and artworks from the private collection of the Bellini family and the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci. [Photo provided to China Daily]

An ongoing exhibition offers a view of art collections from the Renaissance years. Zhang Kun reports in Shanghai.

Francesca Bellini was seen strolling around a large hall in Shanghai in late September with a towel in hand to wipe 16th-century tables and cabinets kept there as part of an exhibition.

The show, Miracle: The Bellini Family and the Renaissance, opened at Shanghai Himalayas Museum on Sept 28, with five exhibition halls designed to replicate wealthy Italian households during the period.

The exhibits, nearly 460 daily objects and artworks, include original creations by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. The displayed items are from the private collection of the Bellini family and the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci.

The exhibition was popular in China during the National Day holiday week earlier this month when visitors formed long lines to get a glimpse of the displayed items.

Francesca and her husband, Luigi Bellini, are the 21st generation of the Bellini family from Florence, Italy. Through six centuries, the family has put together a huge collection of antiques and artwork. This is the first time these pieces are being shown in China, where the halls have been designed in the style of the family's sitting room, dining room, saloon, prayer room and bedrooms. The family even brought five original door frames from its gallery in Florence for the China show.

At the center of one of the exhibition halls, a large bed frame is placed that once belonged to the Medici family. A villa was bought by his grandfather from the Medicis and the bed was from that estate, Luigi Bellini tells China Daily.

The Medici family was an important patron of great artists during the Renaissance, such as Botticelli, Da Vinci and Michelangelo. But the family declined in the 18th century and many of the collected artworks had either scattered or were lost.

The Bellini family has managed to continue to develop its collection, and accumulate by now around 10,000 pieces through six centuries, Luigi Bellini says.

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